Emma Mackie calls time on her AFLW career with St Kilda

Border football product Emma Mackie has called time on her AFLW playing career.
Border football product Emma Mackie has called time on her AFLW playing career.

After three seasons in the AFLW midfielder Emma Mackie has decided to finish her football career at the club she's always held close to her heart.

The former Jindera player joined St Kilda this season after being selected by the Western Bulldogs at pick 27 in the 2017 AFLW draft.

The 35-year-old hangs up her boots having been a part of the Bulldogs' 2018 premiership squad, as well as captaining Hawthorn's VFLW side to a flag in the same year.

Mackie said the time felt right to take a step back to spend more time with her wife, Beth, and 15-month-old son, Finn.

Despite the turbulent end to the AFLW season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mackie said getting the opportunity to don the Saints' colours and the same number as her idol, Nathan Burke, was a dream come true.

"To finish off there was quite nice, I like that ending," Mackie said.

"I was pretty emotional when I got up in front of the group.

"It was hard realising that it was the last time I'd be running out with the team and at the club I grew up barracking for.

"When I was younger I loved playing football and I think it was definitely a childhood dream of mine to be able to play.

"I'm very grateful for every opportunity that I've had.

"It's been great to be able to pave the way for the younger generation coming through.

"Hopefully I've been able to mentor some of those girls coming through that are going to be amazing.

"I think it's time to spend more time with family and look towards my career."

Mackie's retirement comes at an extremely unique time in sport as the coronavirus sweeps the nation and the world.

In a matter of weeks the AFLW season was thrown on it's head as play came to an early halt.

Games, training and crowds were all slowly impacted as strict guidelines rolled out to combat the spread of the virus.

"Everything happened so quickly," Mackie said. "We were slowly hearing more and more about the coronavirus.

"We went from playing in front of no crowd to the whole season finishing."

Mackie has not only experienced a successful career out on the footy field, but also on the bike as a professional cyclist.

With more time now up her sleeve, Mackie admits she's excited to be able to get back into it.

"The bike is something that I can always just put my clothes on and go for a ride," she said.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back into doing a little bit more riding now that I'll have more time.

"My wife has been supporting me for the past few years with football, so it'll be nice to have a bit more family time.

"All of my family back home in Albury have been amazing.

"Mum, dad, my sisters and brother have supported me the whole time and it'll be great to have some more time to come back home.

"I'm pretty proud of what I've achieved. It's been an awesome ride."

This story 'It's been an awesome ride' Mackie reflects on AFLW career first appeared on The Border Mail.